asked how she was, that she had given up lying on the sofa, and was going about in a most astonishing way, considering her feeble health.”

“You don’t say so! Let me see that book a moment,” and Aunt Clara examined the new patterns with a more respectful air, for if the elegant Mrs. Van Tassel wore these “dreadful things” it would never do to be left behind, in spite of her prejudices.

Dr. Alec looked at Mrs. Jessie, and both smiled, for “little Mum” had been in the secret, and enjoyed it mightily.

“I thought that would settle it,” he said with a nod.

“I didn’t wait for Mrs. Van to lead the way, and for once in my life I have adopted a new fashion before Clara. My freedom suit is ordered, and you may see me playing tag with Rose and the boys before long,” answered Mrs. Jessie, nodding back at him.

Meantime Aunt Plenty was examining Rose’s costume, for the hat and sack were off, and the girl was eagerly explaining the new under-garments.

“See, auntie, all nice scarlet flannel, and a gay little petticoat, and long stockings, oh, so warm! Phebe and I nearly died laughing when I put this rig on, but I like it ever so much. The dress is so comfortable, and doesn’t need any belt or sash, and I can sit without rumpling any trimming, that’s such a comfort! I like to be tidy, and so, when I wear fussed-up things, I’m thinking of my clothes all the time, and that’s tiresome. Do say you like it. I resolved I would, just to please uncle, for he does know more about health than anyone else, I’m sure, and I’d wear a bag if he asked me to do it.”

“I don’t ask that, Rose, but I wish you’d weigh and compare the two suits, and then choose which seems best. I leave it to your own commonsense,” answered Dr. Alec, feeling pretty sure he had won.

“Why, I take this one, of course, uncle. The other is fashionable, and—yes—I must say I think it’s pretty—but it’s very heavy, and I should have to go round like a walking doll if I wore it. I’m much obliged to auntie, but I’ll keep this, please.”

Rose spoke gently but decidedly, though there was a look of regret when her eye fell on the other suit which Phebe had brought in; and it was very natural to like to look as other girls did. Aunt Clara sighed; Uncle Alec smiled, and said heartily—

“Thank you, dear; now read this book and you will understand why I ask it of you. Then, if you like, I’ll give you a new lesson; you asked for one yesterday, and this is more necessary than French or housekeeping.”

“Oh, what?” and Rose caught up the book which Mrs. Clara had thrown down with a disgusted look.

Though Dr. Alec was forty, the boyish love of teasing was not yet dead in him, and, being much elated at his victory, he could not resist the temptation of shocking Mrs. Clara by suggesting dreadful possibilities, so he answered, half in earnest, half in jest, “Physiology, Rose. Wouldn’t you like to be a little medical student, with Uncle Doctor for teacher, and be ready to take up his practice when he has to stop? If you agree, I’ll hunt up my old skeleton to-morrow.”

That was too much for Aunt Clara, and she hastily departed, with her mind in a sad state of perturbation about Mrs. Van Tassel’s new costume and Rose’s new study.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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